Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Giveaway to Simultaneously Love and Hate

Exercise isn't always my thing.  (See, e.g., here and here).  I don't know if I'd say I'm sedentary by nature, but it is very easy for me to slip into periods of complete inactivity.  I'm talking about going from exercising four or five times a week to absolutely nothing.  I'm not sure why; I guess I just slip out of the habit and then lose my momentum.  I'm particularly prone to this behavior in the winter.

Still, the sporadically warming temperatures tell me that I don't have much more time before summer arrives, with its corresponding array of more revealing clothing and swimwear.  The warmer weather makes me feel more optimistic about moving more and getting fit, and the prospect of swimwear...well...optimistic isn't quite the right word, but you see what I'm getting at here.

For those who share my desire to tone up a bit, but who also lack motivation, let's find some motivation together!  I propose a challenge!

The 30 Day Shred was, by far, the best workout DVD I have ever used, bar none.  Here's how it works:  each DVD contains three workout levels of increasing difficulty.  You start with level one, then when you're ready move to level two, then to level three.  It's suggested that you spend ten days on each (hence, 30 days) but if you're still struggling on a level you may want to stay there longer.  Likewise, if you find a level too easy you may want to advance earlier.

What you need to do the exercises are:
  • The DVD (available here for $11)
  • Two hand weights (I started with three pounds, then moved up to five pounds) (available here; $12 for three pounders, $17 for five pounders)
  • A mat, if you're working out on a hard surface (here's one for $11)
  • Optional: a tape measure so you can keep track of your melting measurements :-)  (here for $3)
(Full disclosure: I may earn a commission from Amazon if you buy those products using those links.  That said, I love Amazon, they ship fast/free, and I own both the DVD and the Valeo weights---purchased from Amazon last year---and I love them.)

I started using this DVD around March of last year, and I LOVED IT.  What I loved most about this DVD is that it's relatively challenging, but it's just a little longer than 20 minutes so it barely takes any time out of your day.  By the time you're getting sick of exercising, you're done!  The workouts are organized in a "3-2-1" format---3 minutes strength (usually with the weights), 2 minutes cardio (mostly jumping), 1 minute abs.  It's constantly changing so you're more or less engaged the whole time.

Most of all, though, I saw RESULTS.  Like, crazy results.  Soft little me was suddenly sporting kind of a six pack, and I totally had one of those defined "v"s that you see in fit people's bikini lines.  My arms trimmed down and I had nice, unscary biceps.  I can undoubtedly say that I was in the best physical shape of my life after working with this DVD.  My running speed also improved because of my increased core strength.   I mean, look at the reviews of this DVD on Amazon.  There are over 2,300 reviews, and almost 2,200 are four or five star reviews.  Over 1,700 of those are five stars!  This is an awesome, awesome DVD.

After a week or two doing the Shred.  That muscle was NOT there before.

I fell out the habit of workout out with this DVD once school picked up, especially since my apartment is a bit small for some of the jumping.  But typing up this post has gotten me all excited to start back up again, and there's strength in numbers!

So, here's the challenge:

Let's do the 30 day shred together!

Get yourself a copy of the DVD, get some hand weights and a mat, and let's spend 30 days knocking this thing out.  We'll start on Monday, April 4 and end on Tuesday, May 3.  We'll use the DVD daily during that time.  (note: if you skip a day, just get right back on board.  "Daily" is aspirational.)  Every ten days, I'll publish a progress post (with measurements?  photos?  I dunno, TBD.).  Since a bunch of us will be doing it together, we can commiserate or support each other as the case may be!  It'll be fun!  I swear!  (True story:  I first typed "I sweat!" instead of "I swear!"  Both are facts.)

This challenge is NOT about weight loss.  The DVD also includes a menu for a 1200 calorie diet.  I DO NOT recommend following this eating plan; I never have and don't plan to.  I think 1200 calories sounds awful, especially for 30 days.  You can do this challenge well and see great results by eating the way you usually do.  You may still find that you lose a few pounds, or you might see more erratic results on the scale if you weigh yourself constantly (you are building muscle, which can cause water retention and could show as a false gain on the scale).  The tape measure adds extra encouragement since you will probably notice that your measurements shrink (waist, hips, thighs, etc.) and your clothes feel looser whether or not the scale is moving.

This challenge IS about toning up and getting stronger.  It feels great to build muscle.  You become aware of your body in a whole new way as you awaken muscle groups that normally stay inactive.  Building muscle is good for your metabolism; since an ounce of muscle burns more calories than an ounce of fat, your base metabolic level increases when you add lean muscle to your body.  Even more, making your body strong gives you a new feeling of power that will show in your every step.

And I know you're all dying to hear about the giveaway....

To motivate us even further:

I'll be giving away a copy of the DVD, one pair of three-pound hand weights, and a tape measure!  

I know, I know, I'm awesome and you're all super-DUPER excited now.  Well, stop your Beatles-tweenager screeching for just a second and I'll tell you how to enter.

This giveaway is open to official followers of the blog.  To become a follower, click the "follow" button on the right hand side of this website.  Once you're a follower, here's how to enter the giveaway:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me that you are a follower.
  • For an extra entry, include a link to this post on your blog/twitter/facebook and post a comment with a link to the entry/tweet/status.

That's it!  You can enter until midnight on March 23 and I'll use a random number generator to select a winner.  The winner will be announced on Thursday, March 24!


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